There is an alley behind the building where we live. Since we dwell in an urban area it is not surprising that a man sleeps in that alley. Sometimes he sleeps in a little storage closet that  has a toaster oven in it. Other times he sleeps under the stars on a piece of cardboard in a nook behind a dumpster. The man has a long white beard and several different tall, fluffy hats that one could imagine the Mad Hatter or Dr. Seuss wearing, because of this we have dubbed him Merlin.

I’m not one of those magnanimous jerks who thinks he’s doing a good deed by not calling the cops on him. I’d imagine a homeless shelter would be more comfortable than the concrete of Miami Beach, but if that’s how he wants to live and he’s not hurting anyone, so be it.

Merlin does have some annoying tendencies. He seems to think he’s been appointed by the county to be guardian of the alleyway. As he sits on the cardboard slit, he’s not afraid to tell you, you’re throwing your garbage in the wrong dumpster.

Only once has he asked me for money. It was for seventy cents. Usually when someone asks for a precise amount that’s under a dollar it seems reasonable enough to give it to them, but I left the house without my wallet. Merlin must have thought that his work was not being appreciated because he then got busy. “Get off that car, cat” he yelled at a cat perched on a BMW parked in the alley.

A wizard’s work is never done.


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